This is what Americans were told some time ago when good manufacturing jobs were offshored (largely courtesy of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable). We were told that we were entering a new economy that no longer had anything to do with manufacturing. The offshoring of American jobs was all just part of the "maturation of our economy." And so we were handed a promissory note that read as follows: "Dear American: We don't like unions or high-paying union jobs, so we're sending manufacturing jobs offshore. We're not going to support the communities that this will disastrously impact when all those jobs are lost because, frankly, we don't give a damn. We're going to do little or nothing to retrain the individuals who have lost those jobs due to offshoring. But don't worry. The stock market will do better, and trickle-down economics tell us that someday, somehow, good jobs, different jobs, will come back to America. "Signed, Mr. Nobody" What happened? Well, those jobs didn't come back, and they weren't replaced with anything. Of course, the stock market hasn't been exactly booming, either, and job creation is slack. The result: Mr. Nobody has gotten off scott free for the economic carnage that he wrought. Of course, that was predictable. No one is offshoring jobs to the United States, and "Mr. Nobody" runs the government, even under Obama (largely due to the fact that the worst American politicans weren't voted out in the 2008 election cycle). To this day, many of those areas of America that were involved in manufacturing remain blighted (Detroit has become a virtual ghost town). And if that doesn't make you mad, it should. No matter what you do for a living, chances are you'd be earning much more now if it hadn't happened. We'll explain that point more fully in a moment. For the millions of unemployed or underemployed, and for the many millions more who are fearful for their jobs, even improvements in the performance of the stock market mean nothing at all, unless that improvement also entails an increase in jobs and job security. And stock market profitability can't be sustained without consumer demand. ("Consumer" currently meaning, in large part, "an individual who is unemployed, underemployed, or fearful of losing his or her job".) Job creation in the service sector of the economy, which was much trumpeted by the Bush administration, was no solution either and is still not a solution. In fact, those jobs are a real problem: they pay badly, and offer little in the way of benefits. In short, they amount to a way of creating greater numbers of underemployed. Even those lousy jobs haven't exactly been pouring in. For example, in July, 2005, 207,000 jobs were created, virtually all of them in the service sector. The better part of them were in sales. (Ever done commission sales? Sometimes you have a paycheck. Sometimes you don't.) But more than 150,000 new jobs are needed each month just to keep pace with the increased needs resulting from immigration and new workers entering the workforce. And not only was this hyper-modest level of growth not sustained under Bush, we instead plummeted into massive job losses. (You can keep up with the latest developments at this url: Center for American Progress .) Even now, of course, existing jobs continue to leave the economy at about the same rate that new ones are needed. Bush Economic Policies, Dictated largely by the Business Roundtable, Were Directly Responsible Of course, it's not much of a secret that the American economy was a catastrophe for the entire course of the Bush administration. What does seem to be something of an open secret is the fact that economic policies embraced by Bush, and not coincidentally endorsed by transnational corporations (= Wall Street) and the financial sector, exacerbated that poor performance, and, as we predicted some years back (in 2005), helped transform it into an economic meltdown. (The sub-prime mortgage fiasco was only the tip of an iceberg, and wouldn't have been nearly as virulent as it has been if Americans had had better jobs.) As we just noted, the economy has nowhere to go when consumers have no money to spend. Consumers have no money to spend when they're unemployed, and are much less likely to spend when they're underemployed or fear for their jobs. This kind of scenario sets the stage for a deflationary economy, in which consumers with less to spend reduce demand, which reduces prices, which reduces profit margins, which results in layoffs, which results in even greater fears of job loss. The stimulus package helped, but it can't reverse this dynamic indefinitely. Only robust job creation can do that. Bad? You bet. But the Worst may be Yet to Come. The year and a half prior to 9/11 saw the loss of 1.6 million American jobs. The six months following 9/11 saw the loss of an additional 2.5 million American jobs. Obviously, Americans are right in believing they have a lot to fear; but the truth is that they have far more to fear than they have yet realized. That's because, if the offshoring of American jobs isn't reversed, millions and millions and millions more American jobs are going to be lost in the decade ahead, particularly better-paying jobs. How many more millions? A good question. Incredibly, the government still isn't even keeping track of the jobs already being lost to offshoring, nor is the corporate media doing anything to report that rate (a state of affairs that is, of course, intentional). But one estimate is that one-third of all US jobs are offshorable, and many of these are the kind of jobs that underpin the American middle-class, upon which the entire economy depends. This would, of course, mean that there would never be a true recovery from the meltdown of 2008. How Did We Get Here? Certainly not by accident. Most of this job loss is due to the process euphemistically known as "globalization", and globalization is no blind force of history or economics. You've heard of NAFTA and the WTO? They're part of the globalization framework. And the FTAA Bush so strongly endorsed was more of the same but even worse. Globalization has deep historical roots. The process has been aggressively fostered by the wealthy for years through the corporate corruption of governments all over the world, including that of the US, and through the corruption of international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF which, in effect, utilize a vicious version of economic blackmail on behalf of large corporations that disavow loyalty to any nation. While globalization is a complex phenomenon with many aspects, one of the simplest to understand is this: when American-based companies are subsidized for shipping American jobs overseas, they will. (House Democrats attempted to do something about this, but were obstructed by Republicans, particularly Mitch McConnell, who had marching orders from the Business Roundtable along with fat bribes .) Indeed, the only jobs that aren't likely to be so exported are those tied directly to local economies mostly the badly paying service jobs we mentioned earlier. This situation is wonderful, certainly, for those already wealthy (since the mid-70s the only real winners in the globalizing economy), but the process of job exporting is crushing the middle class, and can only crush the middle class, because there will always be immense pools of cheap labor overseas. read more The Offshoring of American Jobs: An Economic Catastrophe in the Making?